In the calendar of festivals and events, you cannot miss these appointments… food feasts and farmers’ festival, literary festivals and musical performances, folk groups…from the sacred to the profane, a calendar for the whole year…
The events on the Coast started with the Christmas celebrations, which last from early December until the Epiphany. In Cetara during the first week of December, there is the Feast of the Colatura of anchovies: conferences, tastings and gastronomic competition that coincide with the tapping of the precious sauce. This is followed by: the celebrations in honour of the Immaculate Conception, particularly felt in Cetara and Vietri sul Mare; the Feast of the Zeppola in Positano; then the start of the amazing Luci d’Artista in Salerno and the illuminations in all of the towns along the Coast. There are also the lights of Atrani-village.
In every town and in every church, in every characteristic angle, even in the fountains, the devotion to the nativity scene is renewed. It is worth seeing the one along the SS 163 in Praiano, which reproduces the town and the Praianese coast, the cribs in Pogerola and Atrani, with ancient baroque statues. In Atrani, each figure has its own identity: Catolla, Mariannina, Puparuolo…portraying citizens who lived in Atrani in the XVIII century. Almost everywhere, there is also the “Presepe Vivente” (live nativity scene), with those suggestive in Raito, Pogerola, Pontone, Tramonti being particularly impressive as well as the live nativity scene of Pimonte and the underwater pilgrimage to the ceramic crib in the Emerald Grotto in Conca dei Marini…
The unusual marriage between marine scenes and Christmas decorations creates a magical, dreamlike atmosphere, magic like the falling a comet, a big comet of torches that at the stroke of midnight on December 24 illuminates the skies of many of the coastal towns, with the most spectacular being the “falling stars” of Amalfi and Atrani: a race between steeples!
NEW YEAR EVE
New Year’s Eve is celebrated in all the towns with fantastic fireworks, drink and music, but unquestionably Amalfi is the town that offers the best show. The festivities begin in the late afternoon of 31 December with the thunderous performances of folklore groups. Following a dinner break, at about 11pm, groups start to play until the stroke of midnight, which is celebrated with a wonderful fireworks display, a collective toast, then an imaginative mapping on the facade of the Cathedral that signals the opening of the concert in Piazza Duomo, with singing, dancing and disco music until dawn. The groups play again on the afternoon of 1 January, g with satirical songs and tarantelle, along with New Year’s greetings to tourists and residents. The festivities draw to a close with the Procession of the Little Shepherds, that on 6 January sees hundreds of children parading in the guise of shepherds who bring gifts (food intended for charity) to the “child” in the stable set up in Piazza Municipio.
The day of Shrove Tuesday, there are masked parades with dancing masks and small rather imaginative floats more or less everywhere. Do not miss the Grand Carnival of Maiori. On the sea front, to the rhythm of samba, there are many parade floats, accompanied by swarms of masked dancers, confetti and lots of fun.
The maximum expression of folk tradition. During Easter, religious brotherhoods organize ancient “Sepolcri”, with the decorating of church altars with albino grain and processions of “Battenti”. The Via Crucis on Thursday is the start, with the hooded procession that goes along the streets of the town passing through the stages of Christ’s Passion. On Good Friday, there is the funeral procession that accompanies the tomb of Our Lady of Sorrows and the coffin upon which a dead Christ is laid. The most impressive procession are in Amalfi, with it being carried out in a candlelight and absolute silence, broken at times by the poignant chorus that screams the despair of the Divine Mother (music and words of the Amalfitan musician Antonio Tirabassi 1882-1947). It is also worth mentioning the processions of Minori, where the Mysteries start at dawn, with the penitential songs in the two characteristic tones, in tone ‘e sotte and in tone’e coppe; Agerola as well as Ravello. In the latter, the Via Crucis is entrusted to a local theatre group that gives a faithful representation of all the stages of the capture of Christ, the trial up to the Crucifixion, creating highly suggestive moments.
Ravello begins with the international Chamber Music on the Amalfi Coast while on Whit Monday in Maiori, there is the Festa dell’Avvocata. The slopes of Mount Falerzio fill with pilgrims who swarm to the shrine of Our Lady which is located 1,014 m above sea level. At noon, the uninterrupted sound of the bells – it is traditional for each pilgrim to ring – accompanies the procession with the statue of the Madonna for the entire route sprayed by a shower of rose petals. The party continues until late afternoon, with singing, dancing and the ancient “tammorriate”.
Continuing with high-altitude performances, from May to October, I suoni degli dei concerts and hiking along the Path of the Gods should not be missed, but not only.
Every four years, in Amalfi during the first week of June, there is the Historical Regatta of the Ancient Maritime Republics, with four galleons, each with the colours and the banner of their city, compete, reliving the ancient rivalry between Amalfi, Pisa, Genoa and Venice. The race is preceded by the solemn “Historical Parade” that, among trumpets and drums, has delegations in costume of the four cities that host the event, alternating with each other…
For lovers of historical re-enactments, in Amalfi, there is the historic-fantastic Amalfi musical with performances throughout the summer season; the Palio and Historical Parade in Tramonti and finally, a bit out of the area in Cava de’Tirreni, there is La Disfida dei Trombonieri/Palio della Pergamena Bianca, during which, accompanied by knights, flag-waving and over a thousand participants, the Trombonieri of the seven hamlets contend the White Parchment, granted to the Cavesi by King Ferrante of Aragon in 1460.
In this month, the religious program is particularly rich also, with every celebration accompanied by spectacular fireworks display over the sea and musical concerts. It starts on the 13th in Amalfi with the procession at sea in honour of St. Anthony of Padua and continues on the 27th with the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle; 24th in Vietri sul Mare, the feast of St. John the Baptist; 29th in Cetara, the feast of St. Peter the Apostle, with the blessing of the beach and boats. Slightly smaller is San Pietro in Positano, in the eponymous village, which is also accompanied by fireworks and stalls.
With the advancing of summer, there are more events. From the religious to the profane and not to be missed: 1st and 2nd July in Montepertuso (hamlet of Positano), the Feast of Our Lady of Grace with the spectacular “Pertuso fire”; between Salerno and Vietri sul Mare, I Concerti d’estate a Villa Guariglia; the itinerant literary festival Incostieraamalfitana.it – book festival in Mediterranean; more books in Positano with the festival Positano, sole, mare e cultura; In Ravello, there is the Ravello Festival; the Festival della Tradizione; The feasts of the patron saints: July 13th the Feast of Santa Trofimena in Minori; 22nd in Atrani, the Feast of Santa Mary Magdalene; July 26th in Ravello, the Feast of San Pantaleone with the miracle of the blood….all of them ending with a spectacular fireworks display.
In Cetara, in late July, La notte delle lampare, reminiscent of a fishing trip with ancient fishing lights, (the guests follow the working of the boats at sea while sitting on ferries) and continues on the beach with food and folk music.
In this mounth there is a great deal of choice. In addition to the rich program prepared by Municipalities and Pro Loco, from the 1st to 4th in Praiano, there is the Luminaria di San Domenico; in Conca dei Marini, the Santa Rosa Conca Festival, which includes a literary prize, race and gastronomy, August 2nd, the “Santa Rosa Day”; in Agerola, for the entire month, the Festival sui Sentieri degli Dei that combines theatre, world music and food festivals. The most noteworthy in the first week of August include Fiordilatte, Fiordifesta festival, the festival of mozzarella and typical Agerolesi products.
Remaining on the theme of food and wine, in the thirteen hamlets of Tramonti, there is a series of events: Festa della Pizza di Tramonti, Festa del Limone(Pucara), Festa del Vino (Gete), Roast veal (Pietre), Goat chops, wild boar…and the event Calici di Stelle event, held at the Casa del Gusto on August 10th. In Maiori, there is the Festa della Melanzana alla cioccolata (festival of aubergines in chocolate), the Lemon Night and the Festa del Casale; in Pogerola and Tovere (hamlets of Amalfi), in the second half of August, the Festa della Zucca e delle Zucchine (Pumpkin and courgette festival) and the courgette and Festa della patata (potato festival) are celebrated. In Atrani, the Festa del pesce azzurro (Blue fish feast) is celebrated the last Thursday of August.
Not to be missed: the characteristic naval procession at in honour of Our Lady of the Snows in Conca dei Marini; suggestive Concerto all’Alba in Ravello, on the Path of the Gods (Agerola) and in Conca dei Marini;
the celebrations in honour of the Assumption in Maiori and Positano, culminating in a spectacular fireworks display on the sea; On August 10th, the Feast of San Lorenzo in Scala.
Between late August and early September, there is the delicious cultural and gastronomic event Gustaminori, a journey into memory, recalling past atmospheres, with ancient crafts, folk tales and tastings; At the second weekend in Agerola, on the other hand, there is Gustasettembre, which together with the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, celebrates its flavours with religious and gastronomic events in the streets of the town; between Amalfi and Atrani, from August 31st to September 1st, there is the historical re-enactment of the Capodanno Bizantino (Byzantine New Year). In Positano, the Festa del Pesce; in mid-September in Torello, l’Incendio del Borgo (the burning of the village) during the celebrations in honour of Our Lady of Sorrows.
OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER
In October, there is the Festa della Castagna (Chestnut Festival) in Scala. On 27th November, the Patronage of Santa Trofimena in Minori and November 30th the Feast of St. Andrew in Amalfi.